According to the latest research report from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC), “2020 State of the Consumer,” consumer interest in residential energy efficiency and energy saving technologies is increasing significantly.
The report, based on insights from over 7,500 survey responses, stated, “Many consumers are ready to engage in renewable energy, home energy management, and other smart energy programs.”
Consumer interests include smart thermostats, time-varying rates (demand-side management by smart meters), rooftop solar, home battery storage, microgrids, community solar and a host of other clean energy and energy-savings technologies.
While interest is high, a large number of consumers still have concerns before jumping into these technologies.
A chief concern is up-front costs, especially compared with payback time. That is, while consumers are interested in these technologies, 67% want to know up-front how much money the technologies will cost and how much they will save by participating. Specifically, 73% see money-savings as the primary benefit of participating, and 49% even expect some up-front incentives before they will even consider participating. A minority, 44%, are interested in the technologies because they want to help save the environment.
Another concern is finding sources of clear, accurate and comprehensive information. For this reason, the report noted that “Education remains a clear, strategic opportunity to increase energy engagement.”
The message for electrical contractors interested in this type of work is to try to create partnerships with local utilities and become a contractor that utilities recommend to interested consumers. Then contractors can act as the go-to source of information for consumers on these technologies—how they work, which ones would make the most sense for individual consumers, the cost, the expected paybacks and any other information the consumers need to move forward with this technology.